DON KETCHUM is a native of Phoenix. He was a sportswriter for The Arizona Republic/The Phoenix Gazette for nearly four decades. He covered high school sports on several occasions as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Cardinals and Arizona State sports. From 2008-14, he was a staff writer for, the web site of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Basketball or golf, freshman Doss on top of her game

 When girls decide to play more than one sport in high school, it can create a lot of interesting scenarios.

One of the most noteworthy situations belongs to Xavier Prep freshman Kalyn Doss.

She plays golf in the fall and basketball in the winter. That is a pairing not often seen.

Doss played with her sister, senior Mary Beth Doss, on the Xavier golf team that won the Division I state championship in late October.  Mary Beth has signed a letter of intent to study and play golf at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood, Colo.

Not long after the golf season ended, Kalyn was participating in basketball tryouts. Hoops coach Jennifer Gillom informed her that she had made the varsity team. In addition, another freshman golfer, Kayla Layman, earned a spot on the junior varsity basketball team.

Kalyn Doss (Xavier photo).

Gillom had watched Kalyn in summer league action and in a few camps when Kalyn attended middle school in Glendale. When Gillom discovered that Kalyn was planning to join her sister at Xavier, “I was hoping she would try out with us,’’ Gillom said.

Kalyn did not disappoint. Despite her youth, inexperience at this level and the fact that she stands just 5-feet-1, she has held her own at the point guard position as varsity practice zooms full throttle in preparation for the team’s delayed season opener on Jan. 20 against Surprise Valley Vista.

“I love her decision-making,’’ Gillom said. “She has very good court awareness. She can beat you off the dribble and she can shoot “threes’ (three-point shots). She knows how to pass and she has good patience. I think she has a bright future.’’

At around the age of 8, Kalyn would accompany her father to a park near their home and started to put the ball up toward the basket. It must have seemed like a million miles away. She later played for a club team, but also maintained an interest in golf and followed Mary Beth to Xavier because of it.

Playing point guard at the varsity level is a bit more than Kalyn expected, but she said, “I am adjusting to it. It can be a little hard, but it’s been going good.’’

The job isn’t all offense, of course. Playing good defense is essential. Your instincts have to take over. When guarding an opponent, you don’t want to get too close to allow them to take a quick step and drive right by you, or back off too much and allow them to shoot over you.

On the golf course, Kalyn has received a lot of help from her sister as well as Xavier co-head coaches Sr. Lynn Winsor and Tui Selvaratnam.

“I think I can drive the ball pretty far, especially considering how short I am. I also think that I am a pretty good putter,’’ Kalyn said.

She said she has been a frequent attendee at Xavier basketball games for about three years and has been excited about watching the Gators. Now she is a real Gator herself and admits, “It’s really cool. I enjoy coming to practices and getting to know the girls. They are all pretty nice.’’

Kalyn also has to make sure she makes enough time to study. There are some days when she doesn’t get home until 7 or 8 p.m. One of her favorite classes is Spanish.

Winning a championship in golf remains fresh in her mind. She remembers how good it felt to help the team accomplish its goal, and she wants her basketball teammates to get the same feeling.

“We can win state. We’ve got a good team,’’ she said.

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